Meditation – Pathway to Relaxation and Heightened Awareness
Have you ever sat by the ocean, watched a sunset, or taken a walk in the forest and felt complete inner peace and well-being? That is the same feeling that can be experienced, during meditation practice.
What is meditation?
Firstly, it is important to understand what meditation IS NOT.
Meditation is not, sleeping, going into a trance or hypnosis. It is not being unconscious or being under someone else’s power. Meditation is not a religion, or necessarily connected to any religious practice, although many of the major religions do make use of meditation. It is often described as a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment. It can be used for relaxation and to bring us relief from stress. “Meditation is sometimes said to be inner astronomy. You discover the stars, the moon, and the sun all inside you.”
The dictionary tells us that to meditate is: To reflect upon, ponder, and contemplate. To empty the mind of all thoughts, to concentrate on one thing or no-thing – Meditation is a period of time set aside every day to quieten the mind, a way to slow down, relax, and get in touch with the eternal side of your being. Initially, in meditation, thoughts are slowed down, and eventually, thought stops completely.
How can Meditation benefit us?
By meditating for 15 to 20 minutes, once or twice per day, we pause for those quiet moments and can “recharge” ourselves, releasing any stored-up stress and tension. It helps us get in touch with our inner self, bringing clarity and insight into our daily life, hence more easily determining what is really right for us. Meditation makes us happy and bright. It also empowers us to accomplish things in the daily world by connecting us to the power of the universe.
We can also define it as a “pregnant silence”, a moment of silence out of which new strength and understanding come. A moment to actually experience what is happening without trying to analyse it.
What is the purpose of Meditation?
- Relaxation and Health.
- Stress Release & Clear Thinking.
- Stimulating Creativity.
- Receiving Guidance, Inspiration & Intuition.
- Awakening Psychic Perception.
You may have heard people talking about altered states of consciousness. What does that mean to us? When we are awake and strolling down the street looking at our surroundings that is an awake, conscious state. Go home; go to bed, and fall asleep and you are in another state of consciousness. Hypnotism and Meditation also introduce us to different states of consciousness, which are different to each other.
A simple exercise to experience 2 different states of consciousness.
Find a comfortable place to sit down, with your back straight and upright, uncross your legs and arms, take a deep breath and sigh it out, through your mouth. Sit quietly in your chair, just relax, and listen to the sounds all around you. Notice what you can hear.
NOW open your eyes again, take a deep breath and relax in your chair.
Repeat the whole exercise once more, this time with your eyes closed.
Did you notice a difference with your eyes closed as to what you heard with them open?
Most people seem to hear more sounds with their eyes closed. This is because when we close our eyes we cut off one source of incoming information, we cannot see things, so our other senses are “sharpened”. Since we are listening, our sense of hearing is enhanced.
You have now taken step 1 of a meditation technique. That is to sit quietly, breathe out any tension in the body, remain sitting and be aware of what is happening around you, without becoming involved in it.
There are numerous types or methods of meditation and many techniques to use.
We can classify meditation into 2 main classes. “Active” and “Passive”.
Active: Moving meditations, walking, dancing such as trance dance, or for instance Tai Chi, which is said to be a moving meditation.
Passive: Sitting or lying down meditations, not moving around during the meditation period.
There are quite a variety of passive meditations to choose from. There are 4 basic methods, as shown below.
Guided meditations. Listening to someone’s voice telling you a story of the wonderful scenery that you find peaceful & relaxing to be in.
Using the breath. Listening to and following the rhythm of the breath.
Mantra meditation. Repeating a word or phrase that does not seem to have any obvious meaning
Using a light or candle flame. In this method, you sit and gaze at a lamp or flame and begin to see properties that you normally do not notice.
Regardless of the form of meditation, it is a good idea to take a shower or wash your hands and face before you meditate. You may want to set aside a special place in your room that you only use for meditation. Or you can find a place outside that feels good to you. It is important to keep the back straight during meditation, whether you are sitting on the floor or in a chair; this allows energy to flow up the spine. It is also not a good idea to eat too much before you meditate, or you will feel heavy and tired.
Some people like to perform a little physical exercise before meditation, like deep breathing and stretching & relaxing the muscles. This really helps the relaxation process. Although this is not an obligatory or essential part of meditation we do recommend it, for by tensing the muscles and then releasing them quickly you gain extra relaxation quickly.
Let us now elaborate on the four basic methods mentioned above.
Guided meditations. This method is quite straightforward and simply involves listening to a tape or CD of a person’s voice speaking and directing us to relax and probably visualising beautiful scenery in nature.
Using the breath. This is also a very simple method of meditation.
- Find a comfortable chair to sit upon, although you could do this lying down.
- Make sure that your arms and legs are uncrossed and that your back is straight. Sit upright or lie in a straight line.
- When you are comfortable take a few deep breaths, filling the body with air, right down to the bottom of your tummy if possible. Now sigh the air out even letting the sigh be audible if you wish.
- After you have taken 3 or 4 of these very deep breaths, allow your breath to settle into your regular breathing pattern, close your eyes, and notice your breathing pattern. Breathing in, and, breathing out.
- Whilst you are doing this, some thoughts may intrude, just notice them and go back to watching your breathing.
. Breathing in, and, breathing out.
. Breathing in, and, breathing out.
- You will find that gradually you do not take any notice of these random thoughts, which will disappear.
- Continue this process for about 15 to 20 minutes, then gently open your eyes and reorient yourself in the room.
Using a light or candle flame.
This process is very similar to the one above except that you do it with your eyes open. Place a lighted candle in front of you about 1 to 2 meters away and at eye level when you are seated. An electric light bulb can be used although a candle flame is preferable.
Use the method mentioned above except for keeping your eyes open. Then focus your gaze on the flame, watch its gentle flickering, and notice its different colours.
Gently breathe in and then out and allow yourself to almost go into the flame, become part of it, again continue this process for about 15 to 20 minutes, then gently open your eyes and reorient yourself in the room.
Mantra meditation. Repeating a word or phrase that does not seem to have any obvious meaning, such as a spiritual word, perhaps in another language.
By using such a word that you do not have an exact meaning for it, your mind gets confused, tries to puzzle it out and so stops thinking about mundane thoughts. This allows your body to relax.
If you use a word like “Rose” your mind immediately thinks of and gets a picture of a rose. Use a word like “Shalom”, Hebrew for peace, your mind cannot find anything tangible to focus on except the concept of peace, so you relax.
Once you have become accustomed to the practice of meditation and now enjoy the extra relaxation you get from it, you may become aware of answers to those “big questions about life” that we all worry about. It is not that you are hearing voices as such yet some of the required answers just pop into your mind.
We call this connecting to your “higher self” or perhaps your Soul, the part of you that you rarely listen to. Some people even call this a “hotline to God”. No matter what we call it, here is an opportunity to get those answers, to learn more about ourselves and realise there is more to us than can be seen in the mirror. It is tapping into our higher resources.
Imagine that you are working on a new idea or project, and you decide to talk it through with yourself, but there is so much noise that you cannot hear yourself think. You meditate for a while and the noise disappears, allowing you to sort out what is relevant to your project and dismiss the rest. The more you do this the ‘better’ it works.
ONE LAST IMPORTANT TIP!
Do not TRY too hard. There is no exact right or wrong way.
If you need some more tips or advice around Meditation, call one of our Online Psychics, call 0207 553 5020 https://startemple.com/psychic-services/psychic-phone-readings/